Job Series #3 Composite Method Engineer at MBDA

Job Series #3 Composite Method Engineer at MBDA

13 July 2018 0 By Louis Speight

At the age of 30, Marion C. is taking care of the industrialization of composite missile elements at MBDA in Bourges. From her big office of about thirty square meters, Marion C. has a broad view of the MBDA factory in Bourges. In the distance, wind turbine blades emerge from the wheat fields of the Berry countryside.  On the other side, she has a great view of the workshop of composite parts that equip the missiles, essentially nozzles that are made in order to exhaust hot air. These highly technical parts, with complicated shapes, withstand high temperatures.

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“When François Hollande came to the site in April, he had a brief moment of surprise when the CEO Antoine Bouvier told him that a woman would guide his visit of the workshop,” recalls the chemical engineer, responsible for methods and control within the composite production unit. No doubt the former president expected to meet more men than women at this industrialist very connected to the National Defense sector. “After the first question, he showed a real interest, the visit was very fast,” says Marion C.
The factory, the chemistry, the materials, the production : all this has never scared this very feminine thirty-year-old woman , with neat hands and working in heels. Her safety shoes, mandatory for those who circulate in industrial workshops, are available in a drawer of the office.
Why does the industry scare young girls? The question seems absurd, she whose parents work for a provider of the industry. “My parents have often talked about factories and machines at home. Sometimes I have accompanied them to the office, it’s a very familiar world for me, “says the young woman who passed by Astrium (EADS) before joining the European missile supplier in 2014.

The only one of her promotion to choose “materials”.

Classic course, or almost, for this chemical engineer. “During my studies in preparatory class at the French schools in Orléans, I was hoping to go to Polytechnic school joint competition specialized in chemistry, including the one in Bordeaux. I did not succeed, but thanks to a license-university equivalence, I was able to apply the following year on file, “she says.
At the engineering school in Bordeaux, where she took a chemistry course, most of her fellow girls continued in the cosmetics and health sectors. She is then one of the few to choose materials, with an idea in mind : “Aeronautics and space is the pinnacle of the industry, I ‘ve been thinking about it for a long time.”
Marion and her husband met in preparatory class, he is now a computer engineer, and they both joined MBDA in 2014 after a first job in Bordeaux. “We had an incredible chance to find both a job in the same city and in the same company,” says the young woman, who grew up in Orleans, where her family still lives.
After graduating from the Bordeaux School of Chemical Engineering in 2012, she joined Astrium’s R & D laboratory in Saint-Médard-en-Jalles, the Airbus launching branch. “I contributed to researches on thermal protection on Ariane, the Exomars probe, and already on missiles,” she says.

Named chef in 3 years

At MBDA, Marion C. first took care of the methods in the composite workshop, that is to say the industrialization of these polymer and resin parts, which bring lightness and resistance to high temperatures or mechanical strains. Since January, she has taken the lead by becoming responsible for the pole methods and controls after a merger between two services. She reported directly to the director of the composite production unit, who employs about a hundred people.
“This is one of the advantages of the life of an engineer in a factory in the region, we are not drowned in the mass, therefore more visible by the hierarchy. The possibilities of evolution are real “, underlines the young engineer, who is in charge of a team of 14 engineers and technicians within this service. Example of products coming out of this workshop : “We industrialize all parts and composite assemblies in pre-impregnated technology, RTM and filament winding. For example, thermal protectors, air ducts, or long-range missile storage envelopes such as Scalp or Aster “, she describes.
This team based on MBDA’s main site near Bourges airport works upstream of the production workshop, below the offices. It prepares production orders, and also intervenes throughout the production chain for quality control. “My job covers a variety of jobs and skills, from mechanics, machining, surface treatment to composites,” says the young manager, delighted to do many different things”. “Such diversity, with such a high level of responsibility and industry demand, is exciting,” she says.


Age: 30 years old


2014: Cassidian-Airbus launchers merger at EADS, joins MBDA
2012: graduated in materials engineering, internship then fixed-term contract at Astrium near Bordeaux
2009: Integration on securities at the National School of Chemistry, Biology and Physics of Talence-Bordeaux
2008: Chemistry degree at Paris-Orsay University
2005: Bachelor’s degree in science then preparatory class at Pothier high school in Orléans